Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, caused mild surprise by cancelling a cabinet meeting and hastily convening a press conference on the roof of Savoy Place, where he warned against 'taking a leap in the dark', urging voters in the referendum on EU membership to 'listen to the experts' about the risks of leaving. Some supporters of the Leave campaign began to think they had a chance of winning. The campaign had already taken a turn towards reciprocal accusations of dishonesty between Conservatives. Boris Johnson MP, speaking in favour of leaving the EU, said: 'The botched bureaucratic response to the migration crisis means the Eurocrats are demanding even more of our money.' The Times Literary Supplement printed a 'love letter to the British people' from 140 European cultural figures including Arsène Wenger, the football manager, and Bjorn Ulvaeus, a singer with Abba, saying: 'Please stay.' Sir Peter Shaffer, playwright of Equus and Amadeus , died aged 90.

Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, admitted to the Commons Business Select Committee that the company paid less than the minimum wage, because employees had to queue to be searched in their own time. The amount of vehicle excise duty collected from motorists fell by more than £200 million, over 6 per cent of the total, in the six months after the tax disc was abolished in October 2014. Reckitt Benckiser paid nearly £50,000 to help clear up thousands of bright pink Vanish bottles that had been washing up on Cornish beaches since a ship lost a container holding nearly 19,000 of them near Land's End in May last year. The graffiti artist Banksy left a 14ft painting of a child bowling along a burning tyre on a wall at Bridge Farm primary school, Bristol, after a house there was named after him.

Although all 22 local authorities in Wales had pledged to house refugees from Syria, only five have done so, taking in a total of 78. Chelsea Football Club's former doctor Eva Carneiro settled her claim of constructive dismissal on confidential terms a day after it was learnt that she had rejected an offer of £1.2 million. The Queen presented the trophy to Pat Smullen, the jockey of Harzand, the Aga Khan's horse, which beat the favourite US Army Ranger to win the Derby at Epsom. …

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